With a population of over 500,000, Hannover is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony, while its position on the Leine River gives it fantastic transport links.
Commercial trade fairs such as the Hannover Fair and the CeBIT are held in Hannover each year, earning it the nickname Exhibition City. With the city also boasting world-famous universities and a top class medical school, it is no surprise that so many foreigners consider living in Hannover, which is spelled “Hannover” in German.
Hannover's position as a major crossing point of railway lines and highways ensures that the city has terrific transport links. The city is served by Hannover/Langenhagen International Airport, which is located just 11 km north of central Hannover. Around five million people use the airport every year, with flights available to destinations all over the world.
The main railway station in the city is Hannover Hauptbahnhof, which is a hub for the ICE line, meaning expats living in Hannover can travel by rail to many international and national destinations easily. Connections to the Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Austria are all available from Hannover, while the S-Bahn train links the airport and the railway station.
Hannover is one of the key cities within the German Autobahn road network, positioned conveniently between Hamburg and Kassel (Autobahn A7) and between Berlin and Düsseldorf (A2). Germany's Autobahn is famous for having no speed limit on some of its sections. With the right car, you will get from on city to the next very quickly.
The city's extensive Stadtbahn and bus system is often used by foreigners living in Hannover, as well as the locals. The city's designer buses and trams are famous all over the world. Hannover is also very cycle-friendly and there are cycle paths all over the city.
Hannover is a city of huge historical significance and this is reflected in many of the main sights in the city. The Historic Museum displays the long history of Hannover in great detail, including the city's links to the British royal family.
There are many museums and galleries worth visiting in Hannover, the largest being the Lower Saxony State Museum, showcasing European art dating back as far as the 11th century. Expatriates living in Hannover may also wish to check out the Sprengel Museum which displays works from the 20th century and is one of Germany's most famous cultural institutions. The Long Night of the museums and the Zinnober Kunstvolkslauf are two of the most important dates on Hannover's cultural calendar.
Hannover 96 is the top local football team in the city and they play in the German Bundesliga, with their games taking place at the HDI Arena. There is also a local ice hockey team, the Hannover Indians, while there are many rugby union clubs, the most successful of which is currently DRC Hannover. Water sports are popular as well in Hannover due to the city's location at Maschsee Lake, as well as its close proximity to the Ihme and Leine Rivers. There is a water polo team and expats living in Hannover can also take advantage of facilities for water sports, such as sailing, yachting, rowing and canoeing.
As one of the world's leading cities for hosting exhibitions, Hannover often sees a major influx of delegates who are attending events such as the Hannover Fair, the Domotex and the Ligna. Millions of people also flock to Hannover each year for the Maschsee Festival, while the Oktoberfest in Hannover is the second largest on the planet. Hannover's zoo is also very popular, with more than 3,000 animals living at the site.
Hannover is considered to be a relatively safe city considering its size and Germany is also t a relatively safe country.
However, pickpocketing is a problem in Hannover and expats living in the city should be wary when in and around Kropke and Hauptbahnhof in particular. One area foreigners living in Hannover should avoid is Linden, as there have been a few problems with crime in this part of the city.
Public transport in Hannover is safe but again, pickpockets have been known to operate on local trams and buses. Expats should be cautious and use common sense, especially when it is busy due to a major exhibition or a football match.